You’ve heard people say, “He’s so controlling,” or “She’s so pushy and wants her way all the time.”

Maybe you are in a relationship that feels off balance when it comes to control. To determine if your relationship is too controlling, it helps to know the signs or signals.

Controlling people are typically insecure and need you to step in line with their thinking and actions in order to feel better about themselves. They are dependent on the relationship, but not in a healthy way.

The relationship is more about what they want and less about you. The problem with controlling relationships is that they can become abusive.

Here are five signs to consider:

1. When you say NO, it doesn’t matter. The person pushes you to do things his or her own way. When you don’t, the person’s temper or anger is quick to appear. If you feel afraid of the person’s mood, this is a sign that control is at work. Healthy relationships don’t involve fear.

2. The person is constantly trying to conform you into his or her image. In another words, you need to change. Change may include everything from your hair to your personality. The message is, “Be more what I want and need.” Often this includes jealousy. Don’t speak to people, dress a certain way, etc. Healthy relationships accept and validate you for who you are. Our conformity is to be more like Christ.

3. The person always wants to be with you and has no others friends, family or co-workers with whom he or she engages. While it is flattering to be the center of someone’s world, it isn’t healthy. And the lack of other meaningful relationships is a red flag that control is at work. Healthy people have more than one healthy relationship.

4. The person wants you to only be with him or her and tries to isolate you. Controlling people want to be the only or major influence in your life so they can control your thoughts and actions. The more they can isolate you from the voices and actions of others, the more they hope to influence you in their direction. Healthy people don’t fear multiple influences and people speaking into your life.

5. The person is constantly putting your down and eroding your self-esteem. Healthy relationships involve encouragement, fondness and admiration for one another.

So if you recognize these unhealthy signs of control, seek help to make changes. Controlling people may escalate to abuse and often create feelings of resentment and fear in others.

God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

Warning signs of a controlling relationship

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